Elections are the selection of a person or persons for office by vote.  This section covers procedures and voting at the local, county and state level.

National Rankings provide data on how New Jersey compares to other states on measures of Elections.

State and Local Reports provide featured analysis of current Election data within New Jersey and its impact on life in the State.


National Rankings compared to other states, New Jersey ranks...

• 22nd in Voting by Young Adults

April, 2014.  According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 46.1% of young New Jersey adults between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in 2012.  The top state for voting by young adults was Mississippi, with 68.1%. 

• Last in Female Representation in Congress

January 28, 2014.  According to the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics, New Jersey is one of just 15 states that currently has neither a female representative nor a female senator in the U.S. Congress.  California currently leads the states in female congressional representation, with 18 congresswomen and both senators being female.  

• 37th in State Election Performance

April 4, 2014.  According to the 2014 report by the Pew Foundation’s Center on the States, New Jersey's overall election performance is well below average for the U.S., ranking 37th anmong the states.  The state's rank is down from 34 in 2011.  The Pew ranking utilizes an index that measures a variety of voting behaviors, as well as assessing state administrative tools designed to support voting.  The states has a bit higher voter rgistration and voter turnout, but the state's administration of elections is reported to have higher than normal barriers to registration and absentee voting.  It is also not possible to register on-line, and the rate of ballot rejections tends to be higher than for the nation as a whole.   

• 10th in Percent of Women in State Legislatures

June 4, 2014.  According to the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics, 30% of New Jersey state representatives are female.   Colorado ranks first with 41% of its state representatives being female.  Louisiana was last with just 13% of its representatives being women.

• 39th in Percent of Eligible Voters Registered

May 8, 2013.  According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 64.3% of the eligible population in New Jersey registered to vote in 2012, ranking 39th in the U.S. (a tie with Oklahoma).  Mississippi took the top spot with 82.8% of eligible voters registered.  Hawaii was last, with just 54.1% of eligible voters registering.  Please note that this result appears at odds with the Pew result above, which shows New Jersey to be higher than the national average for both registration and voter turnout.  The figures shown here are for all eligible registrants.  The percentage of citizens registering is actually somewhat higher than for non-citizens.   Because New Jersey has a high immigrant population, it tends to lower overall registration rates.  We can only surmise that Pew used the citizen registration rate.  Also, because many of the states with high registration rates have small populations, the distribution is skewed, so that even with a low ranking, New Jersey's registration rate is actually quite close to the national average.   

• 39th in Voter Turnout

May 8, 2013.  As with registration, New Jersey ranked 39th in voter turnout (54.5%) and Mississippi ranked first (73.3%).  Texas was last with just 46.4% of registered voters turning our on election daya 2012.  The same effect of immigrant voters described above is seen in the voter turnout figures.  Data are from the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

• 14th in 2012 Total Election Spending

March 25, 2013.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, New Jersey ranked 14th highest in campaign contributions for the 2012 national election, with just over $79 million contributed.  California ranked first, with nearly $464 million in contributions.  Spending shown includes contributions to political action committees, candidates, parties, and outside spending groups, based on data provided by the Federal Election Commission.  Looking just at contributions to parties and candidates, 48% of those contributions were to democrats, also ranking 14th among all states.


State and Local Reports


Election 2012

This is a mixed density visualization of the volume and proportion of votes in the 2012 US Presidential election. Each point represents 100 votes. This method avoids the geo-social visual bias of large geographic areas having small populations overwhelming the overall picture. In this way both the relative volume and geographic distribution are apparent, as well as the partisan proportions throughout. Areas of mixed voting appear as a blended purple cloud, while areas more homogeneously represented appear more red or more blue.
The data comes from a running update of the latest vote returns per county aggregated and made available by @Politico.

New Jersey Lobbyist Activity

According to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission's annual report, lobby groups (Represented Entities, Governmental Affairs Agents and Persons Communicating with the General Public) spent over $74 million in New Jersey in 2011. The New Jersey Education Association spent the most with $11.2 million, followed by the Princeton Public Affairs group with $3 million. In terms of receipts, the Princeton Public Affairs received the most money with $8.3 million followed by Public Strategies Impact with $5.9 million. 


Additional Reports

 New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Contributions by Public Contractors from 2006 to 2012, April 2013.

Mary Jo Patterson, On the Frontlines of Freedom: A Chronicle of the First 50 Years of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, iUniverse, 2012.

Making Every Vote Count: A Review of the 2008 Elections in New Jersey, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and League of Women Voters of New Jersey, May 2009.

Benjamin T. Brickner, Clean Elections: Public Financing in Six States, The New Jersey Project at Eagleton Institute, August 2008.



Data from the NJ DataBank may be used with the following acknowledgement:

Source: NJ DataBank (http://njdatabank.newark.rutgers.edu), a project of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Campus at Newark